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National Football Division Three North Preview- Round One

By Aidan Delaney

Longford v Derry

Day: Saturday 15th May

Time: 17:00pm

Venue: Glennon Brothers Pearse Park

Tv Channel: GAA Go

A repeat of last year’s round 6 meeting in Division 3 where it was goals from Patrick Kearney and Paul Cassidy that gave Derry a 2-14 to 12 point win in Celtic Park. That game was also the first back for the teams following a Covid enforced break so hopefully both teams will be more prepared for dealing with the long layoff.

Oakleafers boss Rory Gallagher has emphasized consistency in his pre-match comments so he’ll be hoping for a similar result this time around. He’ll be able to call on Gareth McKinless after the Ballinderry man took a year out in 2020. They’ll have to deal without former captain Enda Lynn who has stepped away. After going so close to promotion last year, the Ulstermen will want to start this campaign brightly.

There will be no Barry O’Farrell for the home side as he’s out with a persistent wrist injury. The Carrickedmond defender has been rock solid in the past so will surely be a big loss for the game. Longford boss Padraig Davis is looking to repay the faith instilled in him by the county board after he was retained in the top job, picking up a 2 year extension last December.

Fermanagh vs Cavan

Day: Saturday 15th May

Venue: Brewster Park

Time: 19:00pm

Tv Channel: GAA Go

Both of these teams were relegated to the third tier last season and will be eager to prove that they have loftier goals in mind. Cavan’s thoughts will naturally be turned towards holding onto their hard won Ulster crown later in the year so this might be a chance for Fermanagh to show they’re better than the 1 win in 7 in 2020.

Like many teams heading into this first weekend, the provincial kings are counting the cost of undercooked players as injuries take hold in the camp. Backup keeper Liam Brady is out with a serious quad injury and Ballyhaise’s Gary O’Rourke has been drafted in to replace him. Manager Mickey Graham has indicated that most of the knocks aren’t too concerning but late fitness tests will be needed before a squad can be picked.

All Ireland winner with Tyrone Ryan McMenamin says he’s relishing the challenge of welcoming the kingpins to Brewster Park. Now in his second year in charge, he’ll be hoping that last year’s teething problems have given way to a squad looking to repeat the heroics of 2018. Ricey has already been hyping this as the year of the underdog and downing their southern neighbours would kick it off in style.

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